Not a great combination. So it's no wonder that my husband proposed to me in a Ford in front of my house.
This was before the days when a guy would ask 10 friends to help in a grand production of knee-bending, engagement ring revealing ceremony. No, he did not surprise me on some holiday with fireworks, pomp and video cameras running.
It was "will you marry me?" in an after-date conversation on a bench seat in a 1975 station wagon.
How un-romantic can you get?
I dizzily replied yes, sworn to secrecy, because who would believe that after the fourth date, we could be serious about such an important decision. Secret engagements do add some illicit excitement to the whole thing, though - something that every relationship needs.
Now if he had just popped the question 45 minutes earlier, it would have been the perfect setting.
We had just gone to the Queen Mary, an antique ship that first sailed in the early 1900's into the Hudson Bay in its New World glory and ended up docked on opposite coasts at the Long Beach Harbor for all the world to visit. Decked out with restaurants, shops, ballrooms, the floating beauty is a great destination for a date night out. Outside the stars glimmered after our dinner. We talked and dreamed and enjoyed each other's company.
But it wasn't till we were parked in front of my humble suburban house, that my husband realized we were at a crossroads and he needed to seize the relationship.
And seize, he did.
As I said, I tentatively agreed, wanting a little more time to decide. I'm very long on decisions. At restaurants, it takes forever to order. The pros and cons are too much for me to sum up in 5 minutes. The same was true for picking a spouse. Weighing the facts would have consumed me till I was 40, thus missing out on love, children and family.
Decades later, it's even better than when we started out in that tiny Newport Beach duplex, 100 feet from the boardwalk, the ocean waves singing us to sleep, the damp air making my cardboard hangers sag, smiling like happy faces.
And happy faces, we had.
But let me back up, because Tim had to fight just to get us to the first date.
We met at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa at a Saturday Night Christian rock concert. I had known his sparkly - eyed brother, Jimmy, because he taught home bible studies where a bunch of us teenagers met to study and socialize.
Timmy was my kind of guy. He had the beachy, long haired boy look that made my heart pitter-pat.
We would see each other at parties and get-togethers long before any romance had begun.
I started college at Biola University.
He called for a date. I turned him down for homework.
He called a second time for a date. I turned him down again.
A bit clueless, I didn't realize I was insulting him. For me, studies came first, play later.
Little did I know that he vowed he would never ask me out again. "If You want us together," Tim ranted to the skies, "She will have to call me!"
And call, I did.
But it wasn't for love. It was for homework.
My Biblical Foundations class included an assignment to go street witnessing with an experience "soul winner." This person would need to commit to 3 evangelism excursions. When I asked a pastor's wife whom she might recommend, she suggested Alan Young and Tim Shaw. Well, Alan Young was on his way to the University of Jerusalem, so Tim was the only option.
He said that when the phone rang, he knew it was me before his mom handed over the phone.
And that was the beginning. Date number 1. Sharing Jesus on the Newport Pier preceded by dinner at a Chinese restaurant. How sly is that, of my scheming husband-to-be?
The second homework assignment/date was at a concert.
After the third evangelism/outing, I wrote my paper for the assignment. And I got engaged along the way.
18 months later we were married.
|Calvary Chapel Prayer room. 11/19/77|
After raising 5 children who are gone now, the wonder, tears, sleepless nights, glorious days, loving and fighting that a long relationship survives and celebrates, we are back to just the two of us. Though now in a much more spacious house than that 500 square foot abode we started out in.
Ours was a November wedding. Not a typical time of year to wed. Not a typical courtship. It's June that is known for the month of weddings and summer romances and falling in love.
And falling in love, we are.